I would say that we are probably more confused with the same amount of hopefulness (or hopelessness, but I’m trying to see the glass half-full) but possibly headed down a decision path.
Dr. Shauna McKinney from Tulsa Fertility Center was the doctor of the hour today. I have one friend that just used her in December and is now almost 10 weeks pregnant. Dr. McKinney basically gave us an entirely new line of information. I am now 100% certain that there has never been a reproductive endocrinologist share a medical book or train of thought with another reproductive endocrinologist. Awesome. <sense my sarcasm>
Here’s a rundown of what I remember learning today:
1. Dr. McKinney told us that, first of all, my file is not complete from Dr. Bundren. Thanks, Dr. B’s office for that help. She said that it makes no sense why I’ve been stimulated with the large amounts of drugs that I have unless there is something they found in my blood work that she doesn’t have. (This statement is funny for multiple reasons, but the strangest part is that Dr. Douglas in Dallas told us we were on a low amount of drugs, while Dr. Ahlering agreed with McKinney that it was a lot.) Dr. Mc said she wouldn’t start patients on this amount of stim shots until they were in their 40s unless there was something really wrong with their ovaries. However, she thinks that because I’m young, was on such high doses, and still only produced 9 and 12 eggs each cycle, I was being overstimulated; which means that my body didn’t know how to react to the high doses and kind of shut down (not the same as hyper stimulation for my IVF friends). She says I should have been producing 25-35 eggs on those drugs at my age. Again, awesome.
2. She believes you can test egg quality to a degree with a blood test. Dr. Ahlering said that’s not conclusive. Ugh! Anyway, she can also test my ovarian production with what they call an Ovarian Assessment Report (OAR). Fingers crossed that this test is accurate. I’m just not sure why Ahlering doesn’t believe in it. I don’t remember what Douglas said about testing egg quality, but I’m pretty sure I have a friend that used him and said he does check it. Different REs, I tell you!
3. There is a blood test that can be run to tell what Todd’s testicular production is like. I don’t really know what all of that means, yet, but it’s something we have never been told before. Again, maybe this is another test that isn’t conclusive in some doctor’s eyes, but Dr. Mc seems to believe in it pretty strongly.
4. All I need is a prenatal vitamin. One of the funniest things she said was that for the last 18 months that I have been taking 21 pills each day, the only thing that was happening was I had $30/day urine. That’s a lot of wasted money, but at least it made us laugh.
5. They do not believe in giving sperm a shot of Pentox, which is what Dr. Bundren’s lab used to wake Todd’s sleepy sperm. She said that they have different tests they can run on the sperm for viability, but they don’t like to give the sperm extra chemicals.
6. She does have an acupuncturist in Tulsa she is recommending. She said there are new studies being done on how acupuncture affects IVF. However, I think she believes in this more for the relaxation than anything. She said that as long as adding extra appointments to my schedule doesn’t stress me out, I should go for it…acupuncture, massage, yoga, back scratches, mani/pedis, trips to Jamaica…oh, wait, I think I’m getting carried away.
7. The most interesting piece of information she shared with us is that Dr. Bundren should not have operated on my uterus back in August 2012. I had a septum in my uterus that my records show measured at 12mm. Septums should not be touched until they are 2cm, according to Dr. Mc. Of course, Dr. Bundren would probably say that he has better results with IVF with absolutely no septum present or some other excuse. However, it’s just interesting to learn that we may have endured 4 months of Lupron-induced menopause for nothing. Sorry, Todd. J Dr. McKinney said she has never seen so many uterine septums as she has in Tulsa. It’s something in the water.
I think that pretty much sums up our appointment with Dr. McKinney. She’s a very sweet and patient woman. She answered a lot of questions and in terms we could understand. She knows a lot about Dr. Bundren and has dealt with many of his patients.
I don’t know if we really have a feeling about any of the doctors to lean us one way or another. Picking one is kind of a crap shoot. However, since Dr. McKinney is so much closer than Douglas and Ahlering, I think we are leaning towards her for right now. We are both going to have the blood tests (my OAR) completed. Todd’s will be on the first morning he is in town and hasn’t eaten. Mine won’t be able to be completed until March.
Oh, one interesting thing is the charges from these doctors. Dr. Ahlering gets first place on being the least stingy by not charging us a dime for our consultation. Dr. Douglas comes in second place with a mere $275. Dr. McKinney is the nickel-and-dimer at $300 each, meaning $600 total for the consult. Just an interesting piece of information for anyone considering a consult.
Now, we will just wait until our blood test results are returned. More waiting, but who isn’t used to that by now?!